Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

October 07, 2003

Sasquatch expert to speak at U of G

A longtime sasquatch investigator will present evidence at the University of Guelph Oct. 17 that he and other "Bigfoot" researchers believe points to the existence of a North American great ape. The talk begins at 3:30 p.m. in Room 200 of the Axelrod Building and is open to the public.

John Bindernagel will show slides and plaster casts of tracks during his talk on the mystery of the sasquatch. "I will make the case for the hypothesis that there seems to be a North American great ape among us," he said.

During his talk, which is part of the department of zoology fall seminar series, he will discuss not just the sasquatch, but also the nature of scientific inquiry and the resistance he's encountered to his ideas.

In 1998, he published a book called North America's Great Ape: The Sasquatch, which drew on more than 150 sasquatch reports.

A 1964 graduate of U of G, Bindernagel completed his PhD at the University of Wisconsin in 1970 and worked as a wildlife conservation adviser in East Africa, Iran and the Caribbean. He has been an environmental consultant in British Columbia since 1975 and belongs to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.

"I feel my research results may be of special interest to scientists and students who engage subjects that have been ridiculed or otherwise denigrated in the popular media," he said.

The popular perception of Bigfoot usually extends no further than an often-reproduced still shot from a film made in 1967 in northern California. The shot depicts a grainy image of an ape-like creature striding along a sandbar.

Bindernagel said other scientists most commonly point to the lack of bones and other remains that would prove the existence of a North American great ape. Most scientists dismiss reports of sightings of large ape-like animals as mistaken identification of bears or as hoaxes.

Although most sightings occur in the Pacific northwest, people have reported seeing Bigfoot-like creatures or tracks across North America, including about 30 accounts from Ontario. Two reports came from the Niagara Peninsula, including one in 1997 and another about 20 years ago, he said.

"I don't go around trying to convince people that the sasquatch exists. What I'm looking for is a forum to explain and tell the evidence we have and say this is worthy of scientific scrutiny."

Bindernagel has never seen a sasquatch himself. In 1988, he found 15-inch tracks in Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. "I'm hopeful, but I'm not expecting a sighting."

Zoology professor Jim Bogart, who organized the talk, expects it will draw more people than usual for a departmental seminar. "I've been getting calls. The students here seem enthusiastic. I think it's just the unknown, sort of like the Loch Ness Monster. Everybody's kind of interested."

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For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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